This article is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
SAIYAMI KHER might not have had the perfect Bollywood debut in Mirzya, but the talented actress is going places. After impressing with her desi, power-packed performance in the Marathi film Mauli, Saiyami is all set to venture into the digital space. The beautiful lass speaks to Karan Sanjay Shah about her journey till date, the ups and downs she faced, the lack of opportunities in Bollywood, and more.
From Mirzya to Mauli, it has been two years. What did those years in Bollywood bring you?
The Friday before Mirzya released, there was a line of big directors and film offers on my plate. But the Friday Box Office changes everything. And a lot of offers that were there, were no longer there because of the way the film panned out. After that, it’s always difficult when you’ve done a film that hasn’t done well commercially. The struggle began then. I was offered a lot of films post Mirzya too, but they were not the kinds I wanted to dive in and start doing. So I just waited it out. I signed a South film with Mani (Ratnam) Sir, and we even did look tests, but that didn’t take off. There was a lot of effort and time that went in, but nothing came out of it. I was offered two Marathi films, but they were characters where the girl has a Western look. I felt that if I’m doing a Marathi film and am going back to my roots, I want to do a film that has a rooted character, which no one had offered to me.
The struggle post Mirzya was with the fact that my look was very Western and everyone thought I won’t be able to pull off other characters. Mauli attracted me because my character is from a very small town near Kolhapur, and she’s in a complete Indian avatar. I am glad that the director and Riteish (Deshmukh – also the producer of Mauli) had that vision and approached me for it. Mauli was huge, it’s the most ambitious, most expensive Marathi film put out there. Also it was Riteish’s next Marathi film post Lai Bhaari, it had Ajay-Atul’s music, and Aditya Sarpotdar directing it. The whole package was great and I couldn’t refuse it. Of course, the most attractive thing was that I got to play an Indian character and thankfully, now, everyone has accepted that I can look desi too.
You mentioned that you take time choosing the right films. How do you choose them? Do you feel a dearth of good scripts?
No, there is no dearth of good scripts. See the content that’s coming out, like Badhaai Ho and Andhadhun. There are a few interesting scripts that are going around, but they are with those selected few 15 or so directors, who everybody is dying to work with. Then there are 15 A-list actresses out there, so, the first preference goes to them. If not them, then the directors look at the B-tier actresses. If that also doesn’t work out, then they think about which star kid they can launch. If not a star kid, they think about launching a fresh face. However, no producer wants to work with an actor who has not delivered a commercially successful film, until you start putting out some great work. You cannot sit and cry if a film didn’t work, you have to move on. It is difficult to choose a script or project that you really want to be a part of.
I really wanted to be a part of Andhadhun. Even though Radhika’s role was really small, I knew the project was brilliant because I’d heard the script. But it didn’t work out for whatever reasons. It gets difficult to break the image after the first film because of these things. I was offered roles in a few sex comedies, but I didn’t take them up because that is not the genre I want to get into. I was also offered a few parts where I was just there and had two songs. Even if there were few scenes and two songs in a huge film, you wouldn’t say no. But it wasn’t even that! I would rather be travelling and spending my time doing theatre classes and workshops. There is no dearth of good scripts, just dearth of opportunities. There are too many people eyeing the same thing.
Even though you have a filmy connection, it’s not been easy for you, has it?
My parents brought us up, my sister and me, in a small town in Nashik, because they wanted to keep us away from the film world. They used to call it the big bad world of Bollywood. But life came full circle and we came back here and I got into Bollywood. The filmy connect is just that my aunt (Tanvi Azmi) works in the industry, nothing more. When it comes to the Marathi film industry, I gave it a thought as my grandmum (Usha Kiran) has left a big legacy in a way. But there is no pressure as she was who she was, and I am who I am. I have a long way to go before even thinking of taking her footsteps ahead. I’ve done the waiting, standing in the queue and doing auditions for several brands… I don’t consider myself a filmy kid.
You are venturing into the digital space, which is booming at the moment. What is your take on OTT and do you follow it?
I have started watching a few shows, even though I am late in joining the bandwagon. I’ve seen Narcos, Breaking Bad, and also watched Sacred Games as the content interested me. The good thing about web series and the OTT platforms is that it gives the audience freedom to choose and watch it in their time. That is why it is doing well, as it’s so much more convenient to sit and watch it at home. It has grown in the past two years, but I don’t think anyone actually knows where it is going.
Right now, everyone is going with the flow as it looks great. However, if you see the statistics of it, even on a larger scale, only two percent of India knows about Netflix, only the richer class. It will take time for it to seep into the B and C centres. As an actor, it gives you much scope to do so many interesting things. Angad (Bedi) is a very dear friend of mine and he is doing so much on the web. He said there was so much content coming out and it was challenging as an actor, as you have to constantly work on it and give a number of hours. Everything is so organised too. For an actor that is amazing.
Coming back to Bollywood, who do you look up to in the industry? Who do you go to for advice?
Rakeysh (OmPrakash Mehra) Sir has become like family to me in the past three years. We connected not only professionally, but also on a more general level, like a mentor. I really look up to him. Every time I’m offered something, I run it by him for his feedback. His opinion is something I hold in very high esteem.
Do you think a Godfather is necessary to thrive in Bollywood?
A lot of people do very well with a Godfather in the industry because it makes access easier. That’s one way of going about it. But, in the recent past, we’ve seen new age people like Ayushmann (Khurana) and Vicky (Kaushal), who have done their own thing, in their own way in Bollywood. They’ve kept at it and they’ve turned out to be two of the biggest stars of the last year. Each one has their own belief, you just find what you are comfortable with and follow that.
Bollywood shooting locations with Ridhima Pathak. Watch new show on Zing and ETC!
Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection, anchored by Ridhima Pathak features international locales where Hindi movies have been filmed
This article is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
Bollywood plays a major role in attracting Indian tourists to lands far away. In the course of years we have grown up watching films with beautiful songs and scenes shot abroad – and seeing countries we have never been to. Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection is the new show anchored by Ridhima Pathak, which airs on Zing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 pm. It also airs on ETC on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30pm. Ridhima Pathak while talking to CineBlitz, speaks about the show, her career and many other interesting things.
Tell us something about how you began your career in showbiz?
I always liked to be on stage and have the spotlight but I never thought I could make this a career. I am an engineer by qualification and topper of my university, I was a nerd but one who loved to be on stage. I participated in a lot of debates and extempore and literally made those competitions as a source of income during my engineering days. I was good at it and won most of them; the prize money was good and served as additional pocket money. I was campus hired and was working in the R&D department of a multi-billion dollar company, coding transmissions to automate trucks in the USA!
I left that job to prepare to do my MBA as I wanted to go and study in Harvard but during the preparation period I also went and auditioned as an anchor in a local channel in Pune! I got the gig and started working for them as a freelancer, after which I did cricket commentary for a lot of local clubs in Pune. From there I got a break with Star sports and the rest is, as they say, history.
Tell us about your new show?
It’s a brilliant concept and so relevant. Our Bollywood movies have a huge part in promoting tourism within India and abroad. Europe has been Bollywood’s hot favourite which has given dreams to the masses of India of once visiting those locations shown in Bollywood movies. They wish to travel in trains the way Raj and Simran did or dance in locations where Govinda and Karishma Kapoor romanced. They might just think of going on a honeymoon alone the way Kangana did to find a suitable partner.
Films also make the audience curious to know more about those locations or how those iconic scenes were shot. Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection is a show about this girl who is a Bollywood buff travelling the world through the lenses of Bollywood and is a guide for the audience – plus the show is loaded with Bollywood trivia.
According to you what is the one unique thing that this show will offer?
If you love TV and movies and are curious to know what goes into shooting at outdoor locations, then this show is for you. The thought and hardships that have gone into making an iconic song or scene, with the presenter at that location makes it all the more easier for the viewer to visualize, rather than just being a chat show. This show has plenty to offer, we showcase major attractions and landmarks that have been an integral part of our Bollywood movies.
Along with this, we also present a slice of the local culture, food, nightlife and shopping destinations of those locations. Plus, at the end of each episode, we have a special segment where we meet the cast and crew of the films that have been shot there to tell us about some trivia and fun facts about their time abroad.
What are some of the destination that the show will cover? Which of these are your favourites?
Austria, Germany, Hungary and many more have been covered in Season 1. My favourite would be Budapest. It’s culturally rich, beautiful and spectacular. While walking through the Charles bridge with a camera being pointed at me, I honestly felt that some where from the corner Sanjay Leela Bhansali was watching. He had used the bridge as a metaphor so beautifully in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam!
What is the best thing about being a presenter?
The best thing about being a presenter is that the world is your platter. If you are hungry for knowledge and know how to deliver that information in style, then you can have an opportunity to present! From spelling bee competitions to travelogues to food to sports to Bollywood to a show on manufacturing units to trucks to tigers to sharks to adventure sports to public affairs to politics to what women want to Mann ki baat… anything and everything under the roof and I have done everything mentioned above and more!
Tell us three things that people do not know about you.
I am a trained Kathak dancer; I am trying to loose weight but I have sweet tooth so it’s getting difficult; and I still want to go to Harvard!
Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more exclusive news and updates from the world of Bollywood.
Kunaal Roy Kapur confesses being scared of horror films
In a candid chat with CineBlitz Kunal Roy Kapur opened up about his break from the big screen, the web space flourishing and a lot more…
This article is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
Kunaal Roy Kapur who rose to fame with Delhi Belly and Nautanki Saala also tried his luck in the web space. He was last seen in the TVF original Triplings. Now, Kunaal is heading on to try a new genre and doing a horror film titled Mushkil: Fear Behind You. The actor who is on a promotional spree right now, got into an exclusive conversation with CineBlitz and spoke about horror as a genre, how much he liked Stree, how he finds web space more inclusive and what scares him. Read on…
What appealed to you to do a horror film?
I met the director and he narrated the whole story to me. He had a very clear vision in his head. Also he comes from a film background but he has also done a lot of work in the animation industry on films like Bal Ganesha and few more. According to me when someone has done animation he knows what he or she particularly needs, how a story is told visually. Also, the character appealed to me. I have been always doing roles where I play the nice guy, or bad things happening to me. But in this one I got a chance to play a flirt, a little bit larger than life, he is a guide. He has his own ways with women, little bit outspoken and I had never done that which excited me.
How much of a fan are you of horror films?
Horror is a fun genre when you work in it. I cannot say that I am a horror fan or love watching horror films. I am scared of horror films, the most I can do is IT, more adventure horror say Stranger Things, that’s it. If you go towards Insidious,Anabelle, Exorcism of Emily Rose, are not at all my cup of tea since childhood. When I was a kid, I used to run to other room. But at the same time when you are making a horror film, the fun you have, no other genre has.
In the times where horror comedies are also making it big, what is the unique aspect you are bringing with this film?
I love horror comedy and I loved Stree, which did a fabulous job of cracking the genre. People had attempted in the past but didn’t reach the perfection maybe. I wish I was a part of that kind of a film as well, because, horror and comedy combination and it also had a nice social message in it. Having said that, there will always be a space for pure horror, ours is more of a pure horror film.
We don’t get to see much of you on the big screen, is it a conscious effort to take long breaks?
It’s not like that; there are a lot of opportunities in the web space right now. I have been doing a few shows including one for Amazon prime and I did one for Eros now. So I am saying that to do good work is now not only limited to the big screen. Also, how the people consume it is not longer only a big screen. So, right now I am more on web than films.
So, what according to you is the difference between the web space and big screen?
I think writing is the main difference, with big screen you need to be able to cater a wider spread of audience so your writing has to be broader. With web you can target a certain bracket, whether age group, sensibilities or genre can be even more specific. It’s a capsule that you can consume anywhere, anytime at you leisure. That is the beauty of writing in web space where you can go specific. Also, the production value with the OTT’s is at power.
What’s difficult comedy or horror?
As an actor I would say, comedy is more difficult. If you are making the film, horror is more difficult. But both are enjoyable, have their set of challenges. But still comedy for me is difficult and challenging than horror.
For more updates and gossip, stay tuned to CineBlitz.
Nach Baliye 9: Madhurima Tuli opens up about her equation with Vishal Aditya Singh
Contrary to Vishal Aditya Singh’s claim of not being on talking terms with ex-girlfriend Madhurima Tuli, the actress has another tale to tell
This article is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
Nach Baliye 9’s ex-couple Vishal Aditya Singh and Madhurima Tuli worked together in Chandrakanta. And the two even started dating each other, but a few months back the couple called it quits and as per Vishal they were not even on talking terms. But destiny had other plans and the exes are now participating in the Salman Khan produced dance reality show. Throughout the show’s promotion Madhurima’s identity was kept a secret, but now that it is revealed that she is Vishal’s baliye, we got in touch with the actress who spoke about their bittersweet equation, the reports of the same and her experience on the show. Read on…
How is the Nach Baliye experience?
Well, the rehearsals and everything is going fantastic, there is the ‘ex’ factor where there is a little bit of friction, but otherwise, everything is fantastic. Hope you will like the show, the first episode has aired, and tonight will be my revelation.
Reports state that there are a lot of differences and constant bickering between you two. What do you have to say about that?
Honestly, there are a lot of issues between us. But when we thought of doing this we thought let’s do it to win the show without getting any of our issues in between. We broke up a few months back only, the friction is very strong. Sometimes he doesn’t agree to what I say or I do not agree to what he says, so, it just gets very difficult to practice with someone who doesn’t understand you. But we both always wanted to do Nach Baliye, so I am just keeping that aside. If we have a fight, I come back home and try and forget the misunderstanding, the next day I again go with a very happy zone thinking I have to win the show and give my best. So it’s about thinking positive and not let anything negative affect you.
Before the show, Vishal got a lot of coverage, and he even spoke a lot of things about the equation between you two. Was this because your identity was kept a secret?
Yes, it was because of the secret factor. There is no such thing that he is getting more coverage or anything, in the end, it is only going to be both of us doing the show together. So it was just because of the mystery factor.
In one of the interviews, Vishal said that when was approached for the show with you, he wasn’t very keen. What was your reaction to all this?
I was quite shocked, at that time we were on talking terms and he saying this was very disheartening for me. We are talking; once in a blue moon we meet also, he used to come home also, so we were on talking terms and him saying this had really broken my heart. So, then I thought that now toh I have to do it (the show), if he doesn’t want to he will refuse. Let him say no then we won’t do it because they had approached me also.
Don’t you think the friction might affect your chemistry on stage during the performances?
That I don’t know. I am trying hard…I am thinking that he is my co-actor, and not thinking he is my ex or was my lover at some point, I just keep all that aside. Without getting involved I am giving my performances. Hopefully, that chemistry comes out…even in the friction that angst should also come out, that also looks nice. Depends on how the audience takes it.
What about your equation with other Jodis, who do you think is a strong competition and who is your favourite?
I love all of them, they are amazing people. They perform so beautifully, though Rohit Reddy (Anita Hassanandani’s baliye) is a non-dancer, he is doing great, he is working hard. They share beautiful chemistry, Prince-Yuvika are amazing, mostly all are. Aly-Natasha are fantastic, Babita-Vivek are good. It’s all about bringing that chemistry and content to your story. Kieth-Rochelle are also a lovely couple.
What is next on the work front, whether after Nach Baliye 9 or along with it?
My web-show will be coming out soon with Applause Entertainment. The dubbing is on right now, so after Nach Baliye 9 I will be promoting that show.
Well, we look forward to seeing this bittersweet equation get better on Nach Baliye 9 and we wish Vishal and Madhurima all the very best. Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more updates on the dance reality show.
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